"... Although they're born with a song of their own, an innate riff that happens to be one of the most versatile of all ornithological expressions, mockingbirds aren't content to merely play the hand that is dealt them. Like all artists, they are out to rearrange reality." - Tom Robbins
For the first time, Chaos was completely speechless.
He stood with the other Guardians at the edge of their realm overlooking the tapestry that made up the universe, each realm a different colored strand that crissed and crossed into a complete and unique work of art. The tapestry built upon itself constantly, weaving and reweaving together to create new patterns out of the old.
But now that tapestry was unraveling, the cloth of endless strands disintegrating before their eyes. The individual strings pulled apart and shifted backwards. History unwrote, endings became beginnings and vanished as the whole spooled out back to the very beginning, where each thread started.
Chaos kept his eyes fixed to the incredible sight before him, barely aware of Death's low moan as her past caught up with her. The last few threads untwisted, and everything was back to the beginning. There was an eternal pause, and the Guardians collectively held their breath, anxious to see what would happen.
A soft breath, as Someone watching over it all sighed, then slowly, ever so slowly, the threads began to move again, a new pattern emerging as history was rewritten for the first time again. But this time was not like the last.
Destinies shifted, fates intertwined; the impossible occurred as the inevitable was avoided. A new tapestry emerged, not the same as the old but those lives involved in its weaving did not realize that there had been an old at all. For them, everything was new.
Time reached out and touched it, and what had once taken ages was now unfolding before their eyes. Chaos bit his lip as his eyes followed the threads, watching as they wove closer and closer to the dreaded spot, one that they had all looked upon for millennia as one would a blood stain on a pristine white carpet.
But the hated pattern did not emerge.
Instead of darkness, a design of light twisted into being, and possibilities shifted once again. One thing altered affected every single event thereafter. The phoenix rose from necessity once long ago, but never would again, the ashes now scattered by the breath of change.
The Guardians let out a collective sigh of relief, and Nature ran a hand over her face with fatigue. "Think we failed?"
Time nodded with a contemplative little smile. "Spectacularly so, I'd say."
Death crossed her arms over her chest and grumbled, "Well, I do not think it was a fair test."
Chaos grinned over at her. "I rather enjoyed it. I will miss Eva though."
Destiny shrugged helplessly, stepped forward and tossed her book over the edge. They all watched as it spun away and disappeared into the ether. She then picked up a new book and opened it to the first blank page. "Now we have to start all over again from scratch."
Love smiled. "Look on the bright side. At least we don't have to deal with that old prophecy again. It was getting rather tiresome."
Fate arched an eyebrow with a sardonic little smile. "Bet you He gives us a new one to puzzle over."
Chaos rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation. "I love puzzles." Something caught his eye in the tapestry below, and his eyes lit up. "Oh, look!!"
Lily Potter sat in a rocking chair in her living room in Godric's Hollow, staring into the fire contemplatively. One hand absently caressed the growing bulge of her stomach, and she smiled when she felt a little kick from inside.
"You're going to be strong, little one," she murmured. The baby must have heard her, for he erupted in a storm of kicking that made her stomach jump and ripple. She winced as one particularly forceful one hit her kidneys, then strong arms wrapped around her and came to rest over her own hands.
Lily smiled up at her husband, who had a look of wonder on his face as he felt his son kick. "He sure can't wait to get out of there, can he?" James said admiringly.
"I can't wait, either," Lily said dryly. "I'm tired of running to the loo every ten minutes, and getting cravings for anchovy and raspberry ice cream."
James laughed. "I know Fortescue is tired of that one as well. He hates anchovies, and when he had to mix that up for you the poor man turned a lovely shade of green." He pressed a kiss to the top of her head as she giggled. "Any day now honey, and we'll have a brand new mini-Marauder running around. Padfoot is so excited."
"Try ecstatic. The way he carries on about being named godfather, you'd think it was his own son," Lily countered with a wry smile.
James gave her a mock glare. "It had better not be. I'd hate to have to kill him." Lily laughed out loud, and he continued with a grin, "Besides, I wouldn't wish his genes on any poor kid. What if they got his nose, or worse, his hair?"
"Like you're one to talk," his wife retorted, reaching up to tousle his already permanently mussed hair, and instinctively he shied out of her reach. They shared a quiet laugh, then Lily laid her head back to rest on his chest with a contented sigh. "I wonder what he'll look like," she said dreamily.
James kissed her neck and murmured, "If he looks anything like his mother, he'll be the most beautiful baby this world has ever seen."
She let out a happy little giggle and rubbed her belly again. "Get ready little one. There are so many people wanting to meet you," she whispered, "and a whole world for you to shake up."
"Awww," Nature, Destiny and Love all sighed in unison, the latter shifting her appearance to match that of Lily Potter at the moment. Destiny had a smile on her face as she looked down at her book and started writing again. This time it was in a clear line with no interruptions, prophecies, deaths or dark lords.
Time looked over her shoulder with curiosity as she wrote, occasionally muttering suggestions as the future was planned. Chaos also leaned in, and he grinned widely in approval. "Oh, right here!!" he exclaimed, pointing his finger. "The Marauders meet the Weasley twins!! Perfect!!"
Nature laughed loudly at his enthusiasm, the clear sound of bells over water echoing over the tapestry. Love nodded with satisfaction, golden eyes gleaming like dawn sunlight. "Much better this time around. Don't you just love happy endings?"
Fate scowled, her arms crossed over her chest. "No."
She stretched out a hand over the tapestry, but Destiny shot her a warning glare. "Fate, don't you dare meddle with this."
Fate arched an eyebrow and smirked, then snapped her fingers. A single thread twitched, and the Guardians all scrambled to see.
Lily's face was red as her sweat-dampened hair as she strained and pushed again, a loud moan forcing its way through her clenched teeth. James stood by her side, biting his lip in an effort not to cry out as she crushed his hand with her own.
He looked towards the business end of the bed, and the Healer nodded. "All right, he's coming along. I can see the head. One more push, Lily."
James swept the damp strands from his wife's forehead and kissed it lightly. "Come on Lily. You're doing great. He's almost here."
Lily breathed out hard, panting after eight hours of labor, and shot him a green-eyed glare worthy of the Killing Curse. "This is all your fault," she gritted out, then winced. "I'm never going to let you touch me again."
The assistant Healer stifled a chuckle, and James turned wounded eyes to where she was standing at the Healer's side. "Raven, it's not funny! She means it!" He slid his other arm around Lily's shoulders and murmured to her, "What if I get Sirius to teach me his contraceptive charm? It's never failed for him."
Lily narrowed her eyes. "Maybe."
Now the head Healer was also trying not to laugh, and cleared his throat." Discuss your sex lives, or lack thereof, later. First we have to get this little consequence out of the way." He looked up at Lily, mischief twinkling in his dark gray eyes. "Get ready to push."
The red head adjusted her grip on James' hand, which he was sure she did just to make sure she exerted pressure on every single bone there in punishment. He braced himself as she did, and at the count of three she pushed again, harder than ever.
Her moan turned into a scream, and the Healer exclaimed, "Got him!"
Lily instantly relaxed and fell back against her pillows, panting but smiling. James kissed her cheek. "Good job honey. I love you." They watched as the Healer fussed with something, and then his smile turned to a frown of concern, then serious urgency.
With a quick signal to his assistant, the Healer put the little body gently on the exam table nearby, picked up his wand and started muttering charms. Lily's green eyes widened. "What's wrong?" She tried to sit up again. "What's the matter? Why isn't he crying?"
The Healer and his assistant were both waving their wands over the baby, ignoring her as they focused. Lily grew frantic as she watched the yellow and blue charm lights engulfing her baby. "Riddle, what's wrong? Why isn't he crying? Tom, please! What is it? What's wrong with my son?"
Healer Riddle said something to Raven, who turned to Lily with a somber look on her face. "Lily, your baby's not breathing."
James felt his own breath hitch in his chest with panicked horror. "Wh-what?" he managed to gasp out. Lily clung to his shirt, not breathing herself.
Raven put her hand gently on Lily's shoulder. "It appears there was a knot in the umbilical cord, probably from all the shifting during labor. We don't know when it happened, so there's still a chance. Healer Riddle is trying to revive him."
Lily started to cry. "No!" she gasped out. "No, please no! He's my baby! He can't be – " The words cut off as she broke down completely, and James embraced her so her face was buried in his shoulder. His own tears fell into her hair as he watched the two Healers work frantically over the small still body of his son. Silently he prayed to whomever would listen that his son would live.
Long minutes passed. Finally Riddle's shoulders slumped and he lowered his wand, shaking his head slowly. "I'm sorry," he whispered, tears in his dark gray eyes. "There's nothing more I can do." He glanced at the clock. "Time of death, 17:07, July 31st."
Lily stared at him for a moment with wide disbelieving eyes, then let out an agonized scream. "NO!!!"
James held her tightly, tears flowing as she fought desperately, beating his chest and shoulders while sobbing and screaming out denials. Eventually all her energy fled and she collapsed against him, her face a mask of utter loss and despair.
The two would-be parents watched with hollow eyes as the Healer wrapped the body in a blanket, then looked over at them. "Would you like to hold him?"
Lily nodded, and he brought the bundle over to lie in her arms. She looked down at the small body, the wild mop of black hair and the half-open eyes that showed a hint of green. James reached down with a trembling hand and smoothed down the baby-fine strands, barely able to see from the tears.
The assistant Raven bit her lip, then asked hesitantly, "What is his name? For the records."
Lily slowly leaned down and kissed the baby's smooth forehead. "Harry," she said brokenly. "My son, Harry James Potter."
With wide scandalized eyes the Guardians turned to an indifferent Fate, who, with her blue eyes and hair, looked as cool as a frozen hard boiled egg lost deep in the freezer two weeks after Easter.
"Why?" Nature choked out, raindrop tears in her eyes.
Fate shrugged. "After what happened last time, we don't want to tempt Death, now do we?" She glanced over at Destiny, who was looking murderous as she crossed out everything she had just written with furious strokes of her pen. Time shook his head slowly, liquid diamonds on his cheeks as he mourned a lost future.
Death glowered at Fate, silver eyes flashing as her hands clenched in fists, clearly restraining herself from punching Fate into the next universe. Briefly she wished that Eva was still around, because she would have done just that. Chaos appeared unpredictably angry, eyes narrowed and ready to unleash untold havoc on the temperamental Fate.
Love gave Fate a look of deepest loathing. "You are such a bitch."
A/N: Dear faithful addicts,
I am now cutting you off.
Did you really expect a happy ending?
Until my sanity returns,
I remain evil and insane.